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Billy Payne is stepping down as chairman of Augusta National



Billy Payne is stepping down as chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.

William Porter Payne will officially hand the reigns of ANGC and the Masters Tournament over to Fred Ridley on October 16. Ridley, a former U.S. Amateur champion and USGA president, currently chairs the competition committee.

The Masters Twitter account (!) announced the news:

“The privilege I experienced serving as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters was far greater than I could have ever imagined,” Payne said in a release. “Just as nothing can prepare you for the unique responsibilities and important decisions that come with this position, it is equally impossible to anticipate the many joys and, most importantly, the wonderful friendships that are the ultimate reward of service.”

“This honor, however, is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time. I retire knowing it is simply the right thing to do – and at the right moment – to open the door and invite someone new to be called upon to lead, bring forth new ideas and craft a new vision that will honor our Founders and serve the game of golf for many years to come.”

“I am now proud to call upon my good friend Fred Ridley to lead Augusta National and the Masters to a future that I am confident will hold new promise, while always being faithful to the principles of Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Fred will be an excellent chairman who will serve with my complete and enthusiastic support.”

Payne, who turns 70 on October 13, has been the chair of Augusta National for the past 11 years and has overseen the Masters transition into the Web 2.0 world.

The former head of the Atlanta Olympic Games, Payne joined Augusta National in 1997. He was appointed chairman in 2006.

His effort to admit women as members to the venerable club, which culminated in the 2012 admission of Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, will be remembered along side his other efforts to move Augusta forward. An example of the latter: Bringing the Drive, Chip and Putt finals to Augusta National, starting in 2014.

Payne has suffered from back issues and had a significant surgery in 2016. An anonymous source told USA Today that health issues aren’t the motivating factor in the chairman stepping down, but rather he feels it’s time to move on.

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  1. Robert E Lee

    Aug 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Trump should buy it and put all our statues there

  2. Woody

    Aug 25, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    He caved to the left and let women in..I’m sure the club will move further left and become unwatchable..too bad

  3. BigBoy

    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Long live the Freemasons.

  4. Anders

    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I guess that’s what happens when you let a drone fly over and film the course in a state of repair on your watch.

    • C

      Aug 24, 2017 at 7:43 am

      That video was from two years ago, and most people know the course is not is playable shape all year round.

  5. Bert

    Aug 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Great example to follow, man of integrity and leadership qualities that many wish they could obtain. Sad to see him step down, but as he said, others should have the chance to step forward and assume leadership roles.

  6. Rich Douglas

    Aug 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Payne was an innovator who also helped open up the club to women.

    But we’re talking about a millionaire’s club based on exclusion, so who should really care?

  7. cgasucks

    Aug 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Why is this even news? Augusta Chairmen come and go all the time….

  8. larrybud

    Aug 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    “Jim, I believe he is leaving now”.

    Wow, can’t believe it’s been 11 years already since Hootie’s great introductions!

  9. MAGA

    Aug 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm


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Grow the game: Women’s Golf Day is back for 2018



Women’s Golf Day wants to make 2018, its third annual event, the biggest and best yet. WGD is hoping golfers, male and female alike, will encourage their home courses to get involved and host an event.

Women’s Golf Day is a one-day event that utilizes the combination of golf. and the unique socialization opportunities it affords, to introduce women and girls to the game of golf.

The 2018 edition of WGD will take place June 5, as announced by Annika Sorenstam at the PGA Show in Orlando.
Since the inaugural WGD in 2016, the event has grown from 485 locations in 28 countries to 711 locations in 46 countries last year

“Women love to share their interests with their friends and family which is why we are encouraging existing golfers to encourage their Clubs to get involved. The feedback we receive from participating facilities is really positive because Women’s Golf Day gives them the tools to reach potential new female golfers in a really effective way,” explains WGD Founder Elisa Gaudet.

Information about Women’s Golf Day sign up and location registration can be found here.

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Tour News

Tony Romo cards opening-round 77 in first PGA Tour start



Tony Romo shot a 5-over 77 at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback bogeyed the par-4 13th. He double bogeyed the par-5 14th. He bogeyed 15. He bogeyed 16. That’s 5 over in a four hole stretch.

If you’re tallying at home, however, you realize Romo was even par for the rest of his round. Indeed, after opening with back-to-back bogeys, he birdied the fourth and fifth holes to get back to even par. He was even through 12 holes, in fact. All of which is pretty good for a scratch-golfing former football player.

Here’s a long putt for par from Romo at the sixth.

Talking about his poor back-nine play, particularly wayward tee shots at the 15th and 16th holes, Romo said.

“I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn’t commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you’re just trying to make par. I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week.”

“I really hit some good shots, and I’m close. I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that’s golf.”

Romo teed it up as an amateur partner at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. He competed in the Western Amateur last spring, missing the 36-hole cut. He has thrice tried his hand at qualifying for the U.S. Open and most recently teed it up in a North Texas PGA Players Tour event earlier this month, where he withdrew during the second round having posted an opening-round 81.

Romo tees off for his second round at 1 p.m. ET Friday.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play



GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

Like all WGC events, the best golfers in the world are in the field, so we’re capturing plenty of interesting shots of the biggest names in the game (and what they’re playing). From Tuesday’s preparations, we have one general gallery, a look in the bags of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, among others, Jason Day’s new Nikes, and an in-hand look at Rory McIlroy’s new flatstick.

Check out a curation of some of the most interesting shots from Tuesday in Texas.

Kevin Chappell’s giraffe headcover is a member of Arnie’s Army

Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm’s Hi-Toe wedge

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind 2.0. Is a sequel coming to retail?

Jason Day’s new Nikes. Love ’em or hate ’em?

Dustin Johnson’s putter cover is an homage to his father-in-law-to-be

Pat Perez’s bag is singularly murdered out

Rory McIlroy’s new TaylorMade Soto putter/magic wand

Alexander Levy eschews last-name stamping for first name (just like the owner of the putter above)

Phil Mickelson’s Rogue Sub Zero looks like it has some extra weight at the bore thru point

Branden Grace with Odyssey’s Open Championship putter cover from last year

Check out all our photos from Tuesday below!

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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19th Hole